Half Magic (R)

Comedy 99 min. February 23, 2018
By Craig D. Lindsey
Half Magic is exactly the sort of debut movie you might expect Heather Graham to make as a writer-director. Much like Graham's public persona, it's sunny, awkward, a tad bit flaky and can get annoyingly New Agey.

Graham stars as Honey, an aspiring screenwriter getting screwed figuratively and literally by her self-centered, movie-star boss (Chris D'Elia, who seems to have just ad libbed his entire role). When she attends a female-empowerment seminar (led by Molly Shannon in a brief-but-boisterous cameo), she strikes up a friendship with two other ladies (The Office's Angela Kinsey and Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz), who are also hung up on dickish dudes. They find solace when they begin lighting candles and casting spells that they hope will land them great sex, the men of their dreams and some good ol' contentment in their lives.

Set in Los Angeles (you know this because this movie is filled with tiresome, exterior drone shots of the city), Magic has its sights set on being a screwball look at how women can be made to feel like neurotic, self-loathing failures who believe they don't deserve better. As promising as that sounds, the movie is often too loose and loopy, as Graham paints most of her characters with the broad strokes of caricature.

It's interesting, of course, to see Graham offer what's basically a fuck-you to all the Hollywood alpha males who've done her wrong (remember, she's one of the oodles of actresses who said Harvey Weinstein harassed her, so this couldn't have come at a better time). But Half Magic only half-succeeds at hitting viewers with some long overdue girl power.
Heather Graham Heather Graham, Angela Kinsey, Stephanie Beatriz, Molly Shannon, Thomas Lennon Heather Graham Momentum Pictures

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